All of us at Political Research Associates are personally moved by the devastating loss of life as a result of the events of September 11. We join the entire country in mourning this tragedy. Equally, we are inspired by the courage of firefighters and police officers going up the stairs of the World Trade Center as waves of people came down the stairs to evacuate.

We condemn the killing of innocent civilians.  In this case, the purpose of the attack is not even clear. We concur with the observation of the Black Radical Congress that this is not a revolutionary act.

For all of our 20 years we have been justifiably critical of the behavior of the United States internationally, and we emphasize in this time of crisis the need for the country and the administration to be introspective and to reflect on US foreign policy.

PRA’s job at this moment is to analyze the role of the political Right Wing in the Bush administration’s response to the attacks. As the approval rating of George W. Bush rises and with it the chorus of nationalistic pro-American rhetoric, we fear blanket support for the administration’s actions. We join progressive and peace-loving people around the world in calling for the response to be within the bounds of human rights and international law. We are concerned that in several areas, the aftermath of the attacks will turn this country even further to the right:

1) The prejudice, bigotry and bias so easily visible in American society and that which lies just beneath the surface will, we fear, be unleashed with new fury on anyone perceived as a potential “enemy” of American interests. Scapegoating has already begun as we read of harassment, and worse, against those seen as Arab, Muslim, South Asian, or even just “foreign.”  There is a crying need for strong statements against this scapegoating and bigotry. Ongoing leadership should come, by word and deed, from the administration itself.

2) We fear that civil liberties will be curtailed in ways that are not justified by genuine security concerns. As US security forces such as the CIA and FBI develop measures to ferret out possible terrorists, those measures could cause peace activists, human rights activists, and immigrants to be classified as engaged in “un-American” activities.

3) President Bush has appointed a number of men to his administration who are veterans of previous US international wars, both overt and covert, and whose roles in those conflicts were morally questionable.  We are concerned that the urgency of this moment will discourage a thorough review of who is conducting the response to these attacks.

We encourage you to go to our website (http://www.publiceye.org) for in-depth information on these three areas of concern, and for links to views of the larger progressive community. May we all keep a clear head and a strong and measured sense of justice in the days ahead.

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